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Personal blog and comfy corner of Lyra Rhodes: musician, cake aficionado, whinger...maybe just a place where I can stuff things (words!), rather than them falling down the back of the sofa

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Songwriting - personal style in melody

I'm reading an interesting article about how recordable "melody style" is with some singers... The more I read, the more music theory is thrown around...that turns me off a bit I must admit...still, I agree with what's written here, even though I find it all a bit...well...over-analysing, a bit like reducing famous artistry to numbers...but no, the analysis and *understanding* and interpretation is very valuable...

OR....it's all just a right LOAD OF NONSENSE?

"When Morrissey came to fame as vocalist of The Smiths, I often heard or read the opinion that the band's songs sounded too similar to each other. One major reason for this was Morrissey's use of certain step-wise movements in his melodies, regardless of what the chord sequences were doing. He was fond of starting tunes on the fifth note of the scale and moving step-wise down: 5, 4, 3 and then to 1. He also excluded any blues notes and blues-influenced phrasing. This gave The Smiths a more English sound. Around the time of the albums Green and Out Of Time, Michael Stipe of R.E.M repeatedly moved from scale degrees 1 to 4 and 3, exploiting the tension of the 4. Joni Mitchell often ends phrases on the blue b7 note and the rises slowly to the 1. Her melodies are also full of unpredictable leaps and descents. Paul Rodgers of Free established and immediately recognisable style with heavy use of blues notes, especially the b3 and b7. Many classic Beach Boys tunes have phrases that end with a decorative 5-4-3 flourish, a trick copied by 1990s bands like Supergrass in "Alright" (bridge) and Foo Fighters in "This Is A Call". Natalie Merchant's melodies with 10,000 Maniacs were often similar to each others. During the mid-1960s Dylan often created tension in his melodies by singing the fourth note of his underlying chord."

1 comment:

VĂ©ronique said...

Somehow it seems to me that you should like theory and I should hate it, since I make such simple music and yours is more complex with cool guitar chords that I don't even know. But it's the other way 'round. I make simple music, but I like to know about the underpinnings of music -- mine and others. For me, it adds to rather than subtracts from the enjoyment of playing and listening. It's like knowing how the film special effect is made. It makes the effect more impressive, not less.